Top 15 Places to Visit in Edinburgh


Places Edinburgh

Edinburgh | Photo by Indrik Myneur

The elegant capital of Scotland is the second most populous city in the country and the seat of the Scottish Parliament. On the 18th century, as the major player of the Scottish Enlightenment, Edinburgh was nicknamed as the “Athens of the North” by its people and for a long time the city and Glasgow rivals on cultural superiority.

The city was home of many notable people like the writers Robert Louis Stevenson, creator of Treasure Island, Walter Scott, creator of Rob Roy and the economist Adam Smith. In 2004 Edinburgh was declared the first UNESCO City of Literature.

Not only literature, but the dramatic views from the Old and the New Town districts gave the city recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site too.

So, now let’s jump to see the Top 15 Places to visit in Edinburgh, you will be marveled with some of the places, buildings and monuments the city has.


For booking options check here: Hotels in Edinburgh

15 – Scottish National Gallery

The National Gallery of Scotland is in the heart of Edinburgh and houses one of the best collection of fine art in the world, including Scottish and international art from the beginning of the Renaissance up to the start of the 20th century. There is a special 60-minute trail of the gallery’s must see masterpieces which includes the Raffaello Santi’s “The Holy Family with a Palm Tree”, on the upper level and the Nicolas Poussin’s “The Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist”, on the ground level.

Address: The Scottish National Gallery is on The Mound, right in the heart of Edinburgh, on Princes Street. Price: The admission is free but a charge may be made for special exhibitions.
Opening hours: Open daily, 10am-5pm, Thursdays until 7pm. More info on: National Galleries

14 – Scottish National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery | Photo on Scottish National Portrait Gallery website

This beautiful neo-gothic gallery was opened to the public in 1889 as the world’s first purpose-built portrait gallery. It holds the national collections of portraits, all of which are of, but not necessarily by, Scots. The Portrait Gallery’s collection is a resource of over 30 thousand images depicting the men and women whose lives and achievements helped shape Scotland. The gallery includes many internationally outstanding works of art.

Address: 1 Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1JD. Price: The admission is free but a charge may be made for special exhibitions.
Opening hours: Open daily, 10am-5pm, Thursdays until 7pm. More info on: National Galleries

13 – Camera Obscura

The Camera Obscura (Latin for dark room) it’s the oldest purpose-built attraction in Edinburgh and one of the oldest in the United Kingdom. It can be seen from outside by the view of an odd Victorian rooftop chamber. Inside, it offers a different perspective on subjects of real life on its six floors of hands on exhibitions. You will see live moving images of Edinburgh projected onto a viewing table, pick people up on your hands and even make the traffic climb over paper bridges.

Address: The Royal Mile, EH1 2ND
Price: As in Nov 2015 the standard admission is £13.95($21,10) for an adult
Opening hours: Open daily, 10am-6pm (Monday-Thursday) 10am-7pm (Friday-Sunday). More info on: Camera Obscura website

12 – Greyfriars Kirkyard

Greyfriars Kirkyard is a graveyard surrounding Greyfriars Kirk, which is a church in central Edinburgh. The graveyard is associated with Greyfriars Bobby, the loyal dog who stood guard for 14 years over his master’s grave until his own death. Today, Bobby’s headstone is at the entrance to the Kirkyard. Considered as a must-see place in Edinburgh, the Greyfriars Kirkyard is also famous to be one of the most haunted places in the world. There are even nighttime excursions for the brave and curious souls.

11 – Gilmerton Cove

Gilmerton Cove is a network of underground passageways and chambers hand-carved from sandstone that runs beneath the streets of Gilmerton, a suburb of Edinburgh. This unique subterranean attraction has seven different rooms with rock-hewn furniture tables and chairs. The origins of the Cove, even after extensive archaeological and historical research still remain a mystery. Was Gilmerton Cove once a secret drinking den? A hiding place for religious refugees? A smuggler’s lair? A secret meeting place for the Hellfire Club or the Knights Templar? Theories include that it was the unique work of an 18th century local blacksmith called George Paterson.

Gilmerton Cove is only open by appointment. To Book: Contact Rosslyn Tours to make a reservation.
Meeting Point: Gilmerton Cove, 16 Drum Street, Gilmerton, Edinburgh, EH17 8QH
Price: Adult: £7.50 – Concession: £6.50 – Child (5-16): £4
Opening hours: Monday – Sunday, 10am – 4pm – by appointment only

10- Royal Yacht Britannia

Royal Yacht Britannia Also known as Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia, it is the former yacht of Elizabeth II and today is one of the most well rated attractions in Edinburgh with around 300,000 people visiting it every year. There are five decks that are open to the public which include the Queen’s Bedroom, the State Dining and Drawing Rooms, and the Royal Deck Tea Room. Also onboard you will find a former royal Rolls-Royce Phantom V, the same one that used to travel on the yacht.

Address: The Royal Yacht Britannia, Ocean Terminal, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6JJ
Price: As in Nov 2015 the standard admission is £14.00($21,17) for adults and £8.50($12.85) for children
Opening hours: Open daily, and the admission time-table can be found on: Royal Yacht Britannia website

9- St Giles’ Cathedral

St Giles’ Cathedral is the historic City Church of Edinburgh and it’s the main place of worship of the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh.

Address: High St, Edinburgh, Midlothian EH1 1RE
Price: Admission to the Cathedral is free. Visitors are invited to make a suggested donation of £3.00 per person.
Photography: Permits for photography for personal use are available from the Information Desk, at a cost of £2.00($3.00).
Opening hours:
Summer (May-September) Monday – Friday 09.00-19.00 Saturday 09.00-17.00 Sunday 13.00-17.00
Winter (October-April) Monday – Saturday 09.00-17.00 Sunday 13.00-17.00

8- Princes Street Gardens

The beautiful Princes Street Garden lies at center of Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site, within New Town and Old Town outstanding Conservation Areas. Some of its attractions are the Scottish Monument, the Gingerbread House and the magnificent Ross Fountain, a landmark example of 19th century French cast-iron work which features numerous sculptures.

Address: Princes Street, EH2 2HG
Opening hours: you can find on the time-table here

7- Royal Botanic Garden

Royal Botanic Garden Established in 1670, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is the second oldest botanic garden in Britain and is the main site in a total of four Regional Gardens. It is also among the world’s largest living collections of plants.

Address: 20a Inverleith Row, Edinburgh, EH3 5LR
Price: Garden entry free with a charge for the Glasshouses.
Opening hours: Open daily (March to Sept) 10am – 6pm, (Feb & Oct) 10am – 5pm, (Nov to Jan) 10am-4pm. Closed 25 December and 1st January

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